Freedom of Information
COVID-19 – Important information
Due to the national COVID-19 situation and along with the NHS as a whole our focus is heavily involved in responding to support the Somerset system keep the patient population safe.
Whilst we will, where possible, continue to process Freedom of Information and Subject Access requests, please be aware that our timescales are likely to significantly increase, particularly in circumstances where your request is large in volume or where our team are working from home with no current mechanism to access paper records.
We apologise for the delay in responding to your request and we will endeavour to provide you with the information you have requested as soon as we are able. If you would like to contact us, please email via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and we will respond as soon as possible.
Thank you for your patience.
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group
Information Governance Team
Freedom of Information – Introduction
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) gives people the right to request recorded information held by public authorities, including information which is held by us (Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)), subject to certain conditions as detailed in the Act.
The aim of the Act is to promote greater openness by public authorities and to inform people how they carry out their duties, why they make the decisions they do, and how they spend public money.
Before making a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 you may wish to view our publication scheme, which will direct you to the information we publish routinely.
Under section 19 of the Act, we have a legal duty to adopt and maintain a publication scheme for the publication of its information. The publication scheme follows the current model approved by the Information Commissioner.
NHS Reforms 2013
On 1 April 2013, the NHS Reforms Agenda came into force. The responsibility for services and functions were transferred to different organisations. The new NHS commissioning organisations (CCGs) alongside NHS England will lead on commissioning health services for local populations taking over from Primary Care Trusts and specialised commissioning Trusts.
In summary the new organisations will:
- Clinical Commissioning Groups – will commission elective hospital care, urgent and emergency care and community and mental healthcare for its population
- NHS England – will lead on primary care contracting (GP, dental and pharmacy), specialised services, offender healthcare secure mental healthcare and some armed forces healthcare
- Local Authorities – will take on responsibility for Public Health which includes sexual health services, drug and alcohol treatment, school nursing programmes, giving up smoking programmes and services to prevent childhood obesity
Requesting Information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
Anyone may request information in writing, stating their name, an address for correspondence (this can be an email or postal address), a description of the information required, and whether there is a preference for the format in which the information is to be supplied.
If you wish to make a request for information under the Act, please contact the Freedom of Information Team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at:
Freedom of Information Team
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group
Somerset BA22 8HR
If the information is environmental, the Somerset CCG will respond according to the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) 2004. You do not need to know whether the information you want is covered by the EIR 2004 or the Freedom of Information Act 2000. When you make a request, we will decide which law applies.
If the information is your own personal data, then you should make a Subject Access Request under Data Protection legislation. For more information in relation to Data Protection Legislation and making a Subject Access Request, please click the Information Governance Team by email via email@example.com.
When making a request, you have the right to be informed in writing whether the Somerset CCG holds the requested information and, if the Somerset CCG does hold that information, to have it communicated to you within 20 working days. The right to request and access this information can be subject to exemptions which the Somerset CCG will apply in accordance with the Act. For more detail, please see the complete list of exemptions that may prevent disclosure.
If you are dissatisfied with the way your request was handled, you are encouraged in the first instance to contact us to see if we can resolve any issues internally and/or request a formal internal review of the decision.
Under section 50 of the Act, you also have the right to approach the Information Commissioner to formally appeal the Somerset CCG’s decision and/or to appeal the handling of an information request. The Information Commissioner’s Office can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Charges for Information
We will not charge for fulfilling standard information requests from applicants. However if we estimate a request would cost more than £450 (staff time is calculated at £25 per hour regardless of banding/actual rates) to complete, then as a public authority as stipulated under the Act, we are not required to meet such a request.
In these cases, we will offer the applicant the opportunity to pay the additional costs involved in gathering the information or offer advice on ways in which the applicant could change their request to bring it under the limit.
Format of Information
Wherever possible, information will be provided through our Guide to Information or made available on our website. Our website is frequently reviewed and updated to ensure that relevant and accurate information is published.
When we are unable to publish information this way, or, if you would prefer to view information in a different medium, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In exceptional circumstances, some information may only be available by viewing in person. Where this is specified, an appointment to view the information will be arranged within a reasonable timescale.
Information will be provided in the language in which it is held or in such other language or format (where possible) that is required.
Re-Use of Information Regulations 2005
We allow all information provided to be re-used free of charge in its original context. This may only be done by non-commercial organisations/individuals using the information without profit. If you are a commercial/for profit organisation, or would like to re-use the information provided in a context other than which it was given, you must apply for a Re-Use of Information licence using the contact details above.